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Gangsters terrorise eMbalenhle

Pupil relocate to Qwaqwa after being victimised by gang.

eMBALENHLE – Residents said their lives are in danger as they are daily being terrorised by gangs.

They no longer have the freedom to go out, especially at night, because gangsters are everywhere.

People alleged these criminal groups have taken over the township and are causing havoc and disharmony.

Gangsterism is a serious threat in the area and the number of young people who identify themselves as gangsters, is increasing.

These gangs call themselves various names, such as Weshe and the most popular one, Wrong Turns.

They are territorial and when people go to other sections, they are intimidated by these groups.

Mr Themba Mbonani, a victim, said eMbalenhle is facing bloody outbreaks of gangsterism and that he is lucky to be alive after a gang attack.

He was returning home after a church revival at 10.30pm one day when a group of teenagers approached him and demanded money and all his belongings.

“I gave them everything, thinking they would not harm me, but they then assaulted me.

“I ran for my life.

“They chased after me and stabbed me twice in the back.

“Fortunately, as I was running away, a car coming from the direction I was going in distracted them.

“The good Samaritans in the car took me home.

“I did not sustain serious injuries.”

Mr Mbonani did not open a case, because he does not trust the police.

The 56-year-old mother of a victim of gangsterism is struggling to get over the trauma of seeing her child being beaten by a gang in her presence.

They stormed into her house and were wearing school uniforms from various schools and demanded her son go out of the house.

“I was very scared, because these children were intimidating.

“My son went out in an attempt to negotiate with them, but he was soon on the ground.

“I stood there as they were assaulting him and screamed for help.

“People were too scared to help and the gangsters did whatever they wanted to my child before they fled.

“We could not open a case as my child was afraid they would torture him.

“I feared for my child’s life and had to transfer him to Qwaqwa.”

The 17-year-old victim told the newspaper how he was recruited and pressured into becoming a gang member that lead to substance abuse and the taking part in crime.

“These guys looked cool, because they were feared by everyone at school and always had money.

“It changed when they told me how they do business and told me I had to go through an initiation.

“They took me to the bosses and I was given dagga to sell at school and was told to make sure I meet their target.

“Unfortunately I could not reach the target and people who had taken dagga on credit, did not pay me and I was in trouble.”

Sgt Sibusiso Mbuli who was chairing the school intervention programme in the fight against gangsterism, said the number of gangs in schools is decreasing since the police’s intervention.

He said the police are doing regular patrol searches at schools and identify victims of gangs.

“The victims are given support and are referred to social workers as the police investigate the source of this crime.”

Capt Magonseni Nkosi, police spokesman, said violent crimes in the area are a serious concern.

“We call on residents to avoid dangerous places and not to walk alone, especially in the evenings.

“We request those who have more information, to assist us by simply visiting the station.”

Residents blame gangsterism on illegal mining in the area, certain movies, unemployment and poverty.

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